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High-Risk 'Forced' Crimes Growing in Popularity; Don't Let Your Guard Down


October 20, 2003
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High-Risk 'Forced' Crimes Growing in Popularity; Don't Let Your Guard Down

PoliceOne.com Report / Critical Alert

The phenomenon of forcing innocent -- or supposedly innocent -- people into high-risk crimes seems to be growing in popularity recently.

The incident below is similar to several recent cases, including one in which an Erie, Penn. pizza delivery man was killed when the bomb strapped around his neck went off while he talked with police officers after he robbed a bank

PoliceOne notes that any officer, after having heard these stories, may unwittingly let their guard down, even slightly, if someone claims they're yet another victim to this strange "forced-crime" phenomenon.

Criminals could begin using this wave of scenarios to their advantage to lower an officer's guard just enough to facilitate an attack or an escape.

The relevance to law enforcement is that in light of these recent crime scenarios, officers may have a tendency to momentarily put more weight on a suspect's claim that they're an unwilling participant in the crime, and thus harmless, than they should.

Regardless of what you hear ("Somebody forced me to do this! Please stop pointing your gun at me and help me! This isn't me!"), officers must always act on what he or she is seeing and never let their guard down.

If someone is in the act of robbing a bank or some other crime, they must be considered dangerous, regardless of a possible onslaught of emotional pleas for assistance in getting them out of this forced crime situation.

Treat every situation with the degree of unwavering tactical awareness it warrants, regardless of the possibility that the person involved may not seem to look the part.

Regardless of what you hear or see, in every incident remind yourself that your safety depends your total awareness of the situation actually taking place, not what someone is telling you is taking place.

Do not fall prey by letting your guard down when an "innocent looking" person appears to have been enlisted in a crime; it's not your call to make in the field. Let the prosecutors sort it out later. In this post-9/11 world, with criminals using new schemes to get around normal security measures, they will continue to take advantage of our preconceptions in regards to appearances.

A Denver woman told police she was forced to rob the bank where she worked after a man kidnapped her on her lunch break and made her carry a package he said was a bomb on Tuesday. The woman was released unharmed after the man fled with the stolen money. She was interviewed and released by police, and was not considered a suspect.

The purported bomb was left inside the bank. The Jefferson County bomb squad determined it was not explosive.

Read the complete story here:
-- Copy-Cat Robbery: Woman Kidnapped, Forced to Rob Bank with "Bomb"

See the earlier 'forced crime' bank robbery stories:
-- Police Believe Colo. Robber Tied to 4 Other Holdups With Fake Bombs

-- Killed Deliveryman Had Note on Where to Go After Bank Robbery

Source: PoliceOne; Associated Press




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